This Is My Story :
We should never let where we live, or our ‘perceived’ lack of knowledge or experiences limit our big ideas and what we wish to achieve. Sometimes we just need to take a leap of faith and start something, not knowing where it will take us… it’s part of what makes life exciting and rewarding!
I am grateful to have been raised on Edith Downs, our family’s sheep and cattle station located 100km from the small town of Julia Creek. I treasured the childhood I had, a life living and working on the land with my family, in a community second to none. My father’s passing when I was a teenager led to our family property being sold when I was 21. While I didn’t want to leave the region, I felt I had to now search for other opportunities. I tried my hand at a few professional fields, but deep down home is where I wanted to be… 20 years later I returned to where it all began.
What now? Don’t wait for opportunity… create it, they say. So, I purchased the premises of an existing clothing shop in Julia Creek and transformed it to meet the void. Gravel & Grace became the place to go to find the essentials and the desires in the fashion world for all ages… something special for Him, Her and Home.
When word got out that I was buying a ‘retail’ shop in a small town in remote Queensland, I had some friends and professionals ask “Why?” Why do you want to own a retail shop in Julia Creek? Well I think for those who don’t live and breathe our remote rural community, it may be difficult to understand. But simply for me, the answer is, I am proud to. I am proud to work diligently to provide an amazing service to the people who know your story; the community who are there for you tomorrow. Developing a retail business within my hometown of Julia Creek, was unfamiliar territory for me, but I knew I had transferable skills and a drive to create something special for all people.
A name for the shop… tricky… I needed something that resonated… had personal meaning, reflecting me but also stated the essence of what the shop is and offers. And then the perfect light bulb moment occurred. What came to mind at the family round table were the words that my Father said at my eldest sisters 21st. Talking about my older sister at our last special family occasion together, he said with good humour “She has the gravel in her guts from her mother and her good looks (Grace) from me.” Gravel & Grace was born! It means a lot to me and is an amalgamation of many things. Gravel & Grace brings together two significant elements, the people and the location in which we live. ‘Gravel’ represents the harsh outback conditions, the grit, guts and determination of people facing the challenges in our local communities daily, also it represents the men of the region. ‘Grace’ depicts the beauty in the surroundings, but also within the ladies of the outback. To be successful in this world we live, I believe we all need a little, Gravel & Grace.
From the fit out and vibe, to the stock, Gravel & Grace offers an unique experience for shoppers and visitors. I transformed the existing premises into something I am proud of… a game-changing decision and investment. I sourced and combined rustic features reflecting the outback with the more modern industrial look. There is a reason and story behind all the features in Gravel & Grace; the counter made out of old rail way sleepers, the large wool table, D-shackles for hanging, change room doors from old shearing quarters, industrial heavy-duty piping as the hanging rails… it all has a story, and meaning symbolic of our history and who we are. I didn’t let our location limit my innovation and as a result I’ve been overwhelmed with positive feedback from people expressing their appreciation of the unique Gravel & Grace experience.
There is something for everyone in store… male, female, all ages, all occasions and budgets. Having something for everyone will always be a challenge, however it remains a key focus; a challenge I am proud to have met and be mindful to always improve. I am repeatedly told what a wonderful range I have, offering essential western wear, casual wear right to the high-end fashion, with homewares, accessories and gift ideas in the midst. I decided to invest in professional packaging and put time and effort in wrapping purchased goods to the standard you would find in any inner-city boutique. We all deserve that special treatment. Very importantly, I am most pleased to be able to provide ‘somewhere’ nice for people to go… a smile, a chat is always on offer in a space you can relax and enjoy.
What a massive three years of business it has been! Gravel & Grace opened during drought, kept dry in the biggest flood the area has ever seen, won awards in the first year and second year of business and has been fortunate to be able to keep the doors open during a global pandemic. To add to the eventful timeline of life for 2020, there was the arrival of my twin boys in February. I didn’t experience the smoothest start to Motherhood, being in hospital from 24 weeks, with the boys arriving at 28 weeks and then still spending significant time in hospital and away from my ‘bricks and mortar baby’. There’s been some big hurdles to jump and plenty of twists and turns, but we are doing well. While juggling ‘three’ babies keeps me on my toes to say the least… I feel blessed and motivated moving forward and that’s a wonderful feeling.
Here we are… an item that has been on the to-do list for some time has come to fruition and can be ticked off… check! We are online and the virtual doors are now open. It is time for you to explore this hidden treasure in the outback no matter where you are. I look forward to meeting you sometime soon, but for now thank you so much for popping by and enjoy your virtual shopping experience at Gravel & Grace.